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Dietetic Internship Frequently Asked Questions


									            Dietetic Internship Frequently Asked Questions

Internship or Combined Master of Science in
Nutrition-Dietetic Internship

Frequently Asked Questions
What are the program options at East Carolina University (ECU)?

There are 2 program options available, as follows:

Combined Master of Nutrition + Dietetic Internship program (MS/DI)
    You can find more information about this program at
    The MS/DI program requires a minimum of 33 semester hours of graduate study.
    We have thesis and non-thesis program options available, both of which require a
      research project.
    The graduate course work is completed entirely online.
    Those who completed the program spring2012 took 6.4±2.9 semesters (mean±SD,
      range 4 to 10 semesters).
    Continuous enrollment (each fall and spring term) is required.
    Following successful completion of this program, you will be eligible to sit for the RD
      exam AND have completed your Master of Science (MS) degree in Nutrition.
    Dietetic Internship program (DI) only – check out details on our ECU website

What are the entrance requirements for the MS/DI program? How do I know if I am a
competitive candidate?

Admission Requirements:
• Bachelor's degree in Nutrition from American Dietetic Association-accredited program
• Minimum GRE score: Average of Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning at the 30% perc
• Overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0 on 4.0 scale
• Minimum grade of C in College Algebra, completed in past 5 years.

Verification statement from an ACEND-accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics; undergraduates
who are within one semester of graduating may apply

Application instructions can be found at

For internship only, do I have to apply to the graduate program if I already hold a
graduate degree?

Yes, if a prospective intern already holds an advanced degree, he or she must still be admitted as
a non-degree-seeking student. The web address for the Office of Graduate Studies at East
Carolina University is

How do I apply for the MS/DI program?
            Dietetic Internship Frequently Asked Questions

    1. Submit your application as a degree-seeking student to ECU’s graduate school for the
       MS degree in Nutrition. The link for specific instructions on how to complete the general
       Graduate School Application can be found at Indicate in
       your application is you will begin taking graduate coursework toward your degree
       summer or fall term. You are required to begin coursework the term you have indicated.
    2. 2 letters of recommendation will be submitted through
    3. Link to the Supplemental MS in Nutrition Application: Further information about the
       Supplemental Application components can be found at
    4. Complete the application for the internship program:

When are the program deadlines and when will I be notified if I am accepted?

MS/DI program:

    o   Complete applications must be submitted by December 1.
    o   You will be notified of acceptance into the program by January 31. D & D Digital is
        notified by February 1 of those who are preselected to the combined program.
    o   If the date of submission &/or acceptance is a weekend day, the application
        deadline/acceptance notification will be the Friday preceding this date.

Internship Only:

    o   Applications are due February 15, 2012 for the following summer session 2 start date.
        The first course is an on-line Orientation course (NUTR 4800.)
    o   D & D Digital notifies intern applicants of their matching status in late March.

How do I combine graduate credit with the Dietetic Internship (DI) at East Carolina

Upon successful completion of internship supervised practice, interns will have earned 9-12 hours
of graduate credit. Additional courses are required to complete the Master of Science in Nutrition
degree (a total of 33 graduate credits minimum.) If you apply to other graduate programs, these
credits may or may not count, depending on your choice of major.

Is the Dietetic Internship at East Carolina University accredited?

Yes, the East Carolina University Dietetic Internship is accredited by the Accreditation
Commission for Nutrition and Dietetics, 120 South Riverside Drive, Chicago, IL 60606, 312/899-
0040, ext.5400. ACEND accredits the Internship for an enrollment of 10 full-time interns and 10
MS-DI interns. Interns may complete their work in part-time status, depending on prior approval
by the local Track Coordinator where the intern is matched.

            Who should provide the three references for my application?

            Professors and supervisors from work or volunteer experiences are the best choices.
            Try to select someone who writes well and can describe your work ethic and
relationships with others.
            Dietetic Internship Frequently Asked Questions

Why is nutrition-related volunteer or work experience so strongly encouraged?

The program preceptors are interested in selecting students who might be hired in the future.
They prefer interns who have proven themselves as dependable employees. Interns who have
had some nutrition-related experience tend to adjust better to the hectic pace of the internship
placement. The Student Dietetic Association is another way in which students can gain leadership
experience and find out about opportunities for nutrition-related experience.

Who serves on the selection committee?

The 4-person selection committee consists of ECU faculty and/or registered dietitians (RDs) who
work at the various facilities throughout North Carolina.

What criteria are used?

Overall grade point average, GRE scores, references, honors, involvement in dietetic association
or other professional activities, food or nutrition-related volunteer and/or work experience. The
ability to complete graduate coursework is also essential.

What is the computer matching process for the Internship-Only option?

                      Most dietetic internships select applicants through a computer matching
                      process. Applicants who are interested in the ECU Internship-Only
                      option must participate in computer matching. East Carolina University
                      participates in the February match. To become part of the matching
                      process, internship applicants select their top choices for internship
                      programs on the designated DICAS website.

                     Check out DICAS at to complete the
appropriate forms. Contact D & D Digital by e-mail: Applicants pay a fee for the
matching service which will inform both the interns and the internship programs of the resulting
“match” (selection).

Does the East Carolina University Dietetic Internship accept applicants who are not
citizens of North Carolina and/or are not graduates of East Carolina University?

Certainly! We enjoy the diversity and richness that comes from the whole nation. International
students must work through a credentialing review agency and take courses in the United States
to get a Verification Statement before applying.

Do all the ECU dietetic interns complete their internships in the Greenville NC area?

No! Interns are assigned to a variety of different geographical
areas throughout eastern North Carolina. The local track
assignment for each intern is individualized based site preferences,
the availability of rotation sites within the region, the intern’s
interests and rank order of matching. Each intern is “based” in a
specific city, but may complete rotations at two or more sites within
that geographical area. Typically, an intern will complete the entire
            Dietetic Internship Frequently Asked Questions

clinical rotation in one facility while the food systems management and community rotations may
be completed at two or more completely different sites. In some situations, an intern may need
to travel up to an hour to reach a particular facility in order to obtain experience in a business,
community or specialized practice.

How are the field placement assignments determined?

Each intern’s sequence of assigned rotations is individualized. The Site Supervisors consider both
the intern and preceptors’ preferences. Requests by interns for experiences in areas of special
interest are arranged whenever possible. Interns are asked to rank their Track preferences;
every effort is made to honor one of their top 5 choices. Scheduling with over 100 preceptors
must be carefully juggled within the constraints of everyone’s schedule.

How do I interview for Track Placement?

                           Interns who are matched can interview by phone, speaking with the
                           preceptors from various Tracks, or they can visit the area. Each
                           interview requires about 30 minutes.

                           When will I know to which Track I have been assigned?

                           The formal matching interviews occur in April. Track assignments are
                           confirmed and interns are then sent an official letter including the
                           name and telephone number of their Track Coordinator.

What is the length of time for each rotation in the program?

Interns spend 10 weeks in medical nutrition therapy (hospitals, long-term care facilities), 8 weeks
in food systems and 2 weeks in management (hospitals, schools, assisted living centers), 6
weeks in community settings (public health departments, wellness, WIC programs, Extension
offices). Finally, 4 weeks of Staff Relief are assigned according to the concentration chosen.

What are the available Concentrations at East Carolina’s Internship Program?

Interns choose either Clinical/Medical Nutrition Therapy or Community Nutrition/Public Health.

Who is responsible for finding me a place to live?

Interns make their own housing arrangements. Local Track Coordinators may offer suggestions.

When does the Internship start? How does that differ from the combined MS-DI

                         The ECU Internship orientation course is handled in June-July. A 3-day
                           Orientation occurs in early September. Interns who are completing the
                           MS degree start those courses in August. The remaining graduate
                          courses are scheduled during the next semesters. An internship
                         certificate is provided when all graduate coursework is completed, in May
                        for full-time students and at a later date for part-time students.

                   Can I get financial assistance or scholarships during my internship at
             Dietetic Internship Frequently Asked Questions

East Carolina University?

Interns accepted to the graduate program as "non-degree" are not eligible for student loans,
even though they may be full-time graduate students. Interns admitted as "degree seeking" must
be full-time graduate students to be eligible for financial aid. To discuss eligibility, contact the
Financial Aid Office at 252-328-6610. The website is Additionally,
scholarships are available from the ADA or the North Carolina Dietetic Association Foundation,
applications due in February.

Is there an Orientation to the ECU Internship before the rotations begin?

Yes, there are modules in the on-line Orientation Course at East Carolina University before
interns begin any supervised practice rotation. At Orientation, interns receive policies, the
curriculum, and guidelines for evaluation that will be used throughout the year. Some sites
require interns to participate in an additional facility-specific orientation; all sites require health
insurance, criminal background checks, health exams and liability insurance. Drug testing is
required by some facilities.

How do I get a physical exam and immunizations prior to starting the Internship?

In addition to the immunizations required by the East Carolina University Graduate School,
interns must get the Hepatitis B immunization series and a TB test before the start date of the
Internship. Most hospitals require copies of immunizations, health reports and drug testing before
being permitted to begin on site. Interns should keep copies of all of their health records for
these purposes.

What will I need to wear and what should I purchase for books and supplies?

Most facilities will require interns to wear lab coats. Business casual or professional office clothes
are appropriate. Interns purchase textbooks from the campus bookstore on line. In addition, an
up-to-date medical dictionary is recommended. Interns are required to purchase professional
liability insurance and to have personal health insurance. A pocketsize notebook is handy for
recording important “need to know” and useful information.

Will I need a car during my internship?

ABSOLUTELY!! Interns will need a car to complete rotations, depending upon the intern’s place of
residence. During each rotation interns may be asked travel to satellite
facilities. Interns will meet for a seminar at least once a month at various
facilities in North Carolina; some of these seminars may be a two or three hour
drive from your field placement. Class days are held on the ECU campus;
optional workshops are held in other locations.

How many hours will I be working during my internship?

Interns are expected to “be on the job” at least eight hours a day, five days a week during the 9-
12 months as assigned. There may be occasions when the workday will extend longer due to a
special event, seminar, or clinic. An intern may arrange to participate in the Internship on a part-
time basis over a longer period of time by pre-planning with all supervisors and the program
            Dietetic Internship Frequently Asked Questions

Is there any sick leave or vacation time scheduled during the East Carolina

Supervised practice will be intensive over 9-12 months. There is a great deal to learn in a short
amount of time. Interns are expected to make up any time lost due to sick days or personal
emergencies. Occasionally, at the discretion of the preceptor, an intern may work evenings, 10-
hour days, or weekends to make-up an absence.

Will I have specific objectives that I need to accomplish during the Internship?

Yes, interns are provided with an ECU curriculum (specific competencies/objectives) that will
guide their experiences during the various rotations. The competencies were developed to
prepare interns as entry-level dietitians. Preceptors provide suggestions as to how the
competencies can be met and will evaluate whether or not interns have satisfactorily completed
each competency.

What if I need extra time to complete my internship competencies/objectives?

Each situation is handled individually, but something can usually be worked out. An intern may
need to extend the internship for several weeks or months until she/he is evaluated as
competent to function as an entry-level dietitian. Our goal is for each of our interns to succeed
while in the internship and as a registered dietitian.

Are interns required to attend classes on campus in order to earn graduate credits?

Graduate courses are offered online. Supervised practice hours require field placement in various
parts of eastern North Carolina. After the intern hours are complete, the intern may take a job
                           and finish the MS degree anywhere. Be sure to plan with your ECU
                           graduate advisor before moving away from the area, especially to
                           complete the MS degree within the 6-year limit required by the
                           Graduate School.

                           What are Class Days?      Interns are expected to attend mandatory
                           class days each month. Topics range from renal disease to emotional

Will I get grades for the graduate hours I earn for supervised practice?

Yes. You must achieve a B or better in all courses to get the Verification Statement, making you
eligible to sit for the RD exam.

What is the East Carolina University Dietetic Internship exit examination?

This examination is modeled after the national dietetic Registration Examination (RD exam) given
by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). Similar to the RD exam, the major domains
include nutrition care process for individuals and groups, foodservice systems, management,
nutrition and food sciences, education/counseling, and research. The examination is
administered at the end of the program and a score of 80% or better on each of two parts is
required for program completion.

Will I be a registered dietitian when I complete the Internship?
            Dietetic Internship Frequently Asked Questions

No, once the interns have successfully completed the Internship, they still need to sit for the
National Registration Examination for Registered Dietitians (RD exam). Graduates of the
Internship will receive authorization by the Commission on Dietetic Registration to take the
computerized RD exam at one of the approved testing sites about six weeks following completion
of the Internship. The RD exam costs $125.00. Typically, intern graduates are able to take the
RD exam about 10-12 weeks after completing all internship expectations.

How much can I expect to pay for the East Carolina University Dietetic Internship?

                               There is a fee to apply to the graduate program and a cost for
                               computer matching. Costs include professional liability insurance,
                               program manual, living and transportation expenses, tuition and
                               fees (less for residents of North Carolina.) In
                               addition, books and materials cost ~$300.00 and
                               there is an RD exam review fee of $420.00. The
estimates are based on recent fees and may vary by academic year. See the website for current tuition

Where can I find out more information about other dietetic

Check out the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website at

Revised 5/11/12.

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